Monthly Archives: January 2014

Did Peter and Paul preach the same Gospel?

IS THERE ONLY ONE GOSPEL IN THE BIBLE? DID PETER AND PAUL PREACH THE SAME GOSPEL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Many church members believe there is only one Gospel in the Bible. Are they right in holding to such a conclusion? Is there only one Gospel in the Bible? Did the Apostles Peter and Paul preach the same Gospel or different ones? Setting aside my own opinions, and anyone else’s ideas, we will be surprised to learn what God’s Word has to say about the matter.

Jesus Christ selected 12 apostles on earth, of whom Peter was the head (they are listed by name in Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:14-19, Luke 6:13-16, and Acts 1:13). He commissioned them to go to the nation Israel first—He commanded them not to minister to Gentiles. According to Matthew 10, “[5] These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [7] And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The 12 apostles were to convert all of Israel first, and then, and only then, they were to go to the Gentiles (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15). Luke 24 further explains: “[46] And [Jesus] said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: [47] And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [48] And ye are witnesses of these things.”

Everything that Israel’s 12 apostles learned, they learned in from Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Jesus said to them, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26). He also said to them, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations” (Luke 22:28). When selecting Judas’ replacement, the apostles said, “[21] Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, [22] Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22). The 12 apostles (Matthias taking Judas’ apostleship) followed Jesus during His entire earthly ministry, from John the Baptist’s water baptism to Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven in Acts 1.

Galatians 1:11-18 makes it absolutely clear that the Apostle Paul did not receive from Peter and Israel’s other apostles, the doctrines he taught: “[11] But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. [12] For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by therevelation of Jesus Christ… [15] But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: [17] Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. [18] Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”

Not only did Paul not learn the grace doctrines from Peter and the 11, but he also did not learn the grace doctrines from Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. In fact, Paul wrote: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16). During Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, Paul was lost, and Paul (known then as “Saul of Tarsus”) was persecuting, imprisoning, and killing Jews who had trusted Jesus as their Messiah (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13). The resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ revealed to Paul alone the “revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25; Galatians 1:11-18; Ephesians 3:1-11; Colossians 1:25-26). Peter, James, and John never used the expression “the revelation of the mystery” in their epistles—only Paul used that term, so that should grab our attention.

Read what the Apostle Peter wrote toward the end of his life in 2 Peter 3:15-16: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

For those who want to discard Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon and reject the doctrines of grace, they would also have to throw away the Apostle Peter because Peter identifies Paul’s writings as “Scripture.” If you deny Paul’s apostleship, then you forced to deny Peter’s as well! Furthermore, the Apostle Peter admitted that he did not understand everything that Paul taught and wrote. If Peter and Paul preached the same Gospel and doctrines, then Peter would have no trouble understanding Paul’s teaching. Peter had great difficulty grasping the doctrine Paul taught, so it is only logical to conclude that Paul and Peter preached different messages.

Why did Peter not understand the writings of Paul? Peter could not and did not understand Paul’s message because, like it was stated earlier, Jesus Christ selected Peter as an apostle of the nation Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Galatians 2:9). On the other hand, Jesus Christ selected Paul to minister to the Gentile, non-Jewish world. Paul was “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; Ephesians 3:1; 2 Timothy 1:11). Peter did not need to understand Paul’s doctrine, because Peter was not ministering to Paul’s audience (Peter had his own doctrine in his own program and had his own audience).

In Romans 2:16, Romans 16:25, and 2 Timothy 2:8, Paul wrote about something calledmy gospel.” The Bible says that Gospel of the Grace of God was committed to Paul’s trust. Paul spoke in Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:11: “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” Notice how this Gospel of Grace was exclusive to Paul’s ministry; nowhere else in Scripture is that Gospel message mentioned. Peter, James, and John are not mentioned in Acts 20:24, Romans 2:16, Romans 16:25, 1 Timothy 1:11, or 2 Timothy 2:8. This “Gospel of the blessed God” could not be the same Gospel that Peter and the eleven preached.

We read in Galatians 2:2, where Paul writes, “I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them [James, Cephas/Peter, and John; verse 9] that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles….” Evidently, Paul shared with James, Peter, and John something they had not previously known—Paul taught them the Gospel that Jesus Christ had committed to his trust (a Gospel message He had not committed to James, Peter, and John). Surely, Paul and Peter preached two different Gospels.

Look at Galatians 2:7-8 KJV: “[7] But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [8] (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:).” Do you see that there are two Gospels in that verse alone? (The modern English “bibles,” sadly, retranslate the verse to say “the gospel to the circumcision” and “the gospel to the uncircumcision,” making the two gospels seem as though they are one gospel, but such re-translation is dishonest because Peter and the 11 were not just sent to Israel, but were also sent to Gentiles after they converted all of Israel [Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15]).

The Gospel of the Circumcision (the Jews’ “Gospel of the Kingdom;” Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Matthew 9:35), and the Gospel of the Uncircumcision (the Gentiles’ “Gospel of the Grace of God;” Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). You do not find any reference to “the Gospel of the Kingdom” in Paul’s books. Outside of Paul’s ministry, you do not find “the Gospel of the Grace of God.” There are two separate Gospels here: one which God entrusted to Paul’s apostleship and one which God entrusted to Peter and the eleven’s apostleship. There is nothing complicated or contradictory as long as you keep them separate. Peter and the 11 preached that Gentiles would be saved through Israel’s rise to kingdom glory (Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Acts 3:19-26; et cetera)—the Gospel of the Circumcision. Paul preached that Gentiles would be saved through Israel’s fall (Romans 11:11-15,25)—the Gospel of the Uncircumcision.

According to Romans 16:25-26 and Ephesians 3:5, everything Paul preached—including the Gospel of the Grace of God—was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest.” The but now of this verse is Paul’s ministry—the revelation of the mystery was kept secret until God revealed it to Paul (which was after Christ’s earthly ministry, and after Jesus had already taught the twelve apostles of Israel). If Peter was preaching the Gospel of Grace before Paul came on the scene, and many people assume that he was, then both God and His Word are dishonest (and we know God cannot lie; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).

Paul is the only person in the Bible who uses the term “the Church the Body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22-23; et al.) Peter, James, John, Jesus in His earthly ministry, and all the other apostles of Israel do not use the term “the Church the Body of Christ.” Grab any Bible concordance, and you will not find a single reference to “the Body of Christ” outside of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Why? Paul claims that he alone received the revelations and doctrines for this the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 3:1-11; Colossians 1:23-27).

The Bible says 1 Corinthians 3:10-11: “[10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Who laid the foundation of the Christian faith for this the Dispensation of the Grace of God? The Bible says it was the Apostle Paul. Please understand that Jesus Christ is the foundation, but Paul is the “wise masterbuilder” (architect) who laid the foundation Jesus Christ, that is, “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest” (Romans 16:25-26). God revealed that secret information through the ministry of the Apostle Paul, and it was information that involved Jesus Christ as seen through the lens of the grace doctrines (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon).

Read 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (Again, sadly, modern English “bibles” tamper with these verses, so their truths are not as obvious here.) A pattern is the first, and the Holy Spirit says that Paul is our pattern. He was the first to get placed into the Church Body of Christ—the “hereafter” refers to people who get saved after Paul. The word “chief” implies Paul is the first, the primary one, and the head of the line (see “chief” in Acts 14:12, Luke 22:26, Acts 28:7 where “chief” means “first, main.”)

Paul’s salvation is our pattern for this dispensation, so the Holy Spirit tells us to follow Paul as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 5:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). There is no command to follow Peter, James, or John in the Bible. Why? Remember, Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11). Remember, James, Peter, and John were apostles of Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 19:27,28; Galatians 2:9).

When the nation Israel asked the Apostle Peter, “What must we do to be saved?,” notice Peter’s answer: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38; cf. Acts 3:19). However, when the Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?,” notice what Paul and Silas declared: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). Obviously, these are not the same message. Peter told people to repent and then get water baptized, so they could receive forgiveness of sins and receive the Holy Spirit. Yet, Paul simply taught that salvation comes by “believing on [trusting] the Lord Jesus Christ,” without preaching water baptism or repentance. If words mean anything, Peter and Paul preached two separate Gospels.

Confusion abounds when we mix the nation Israel with the Church the Body of Christ. We must “rightly divide” the Bible, separating Law from Grace (Romans 6:14-15), the prophetic program (Acts 3:21) from the mystery program (Romans 16:25-26a), just as the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth(2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). (Another verse that modern English versions pollute.) All of the Bible is for us, but not all the Bible is to us or about us. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, have direct application to us; the rest of the Bible involves the nation Israel and her prophetic program. We cannot take Israel’s verses as though they were ours.

Anyone who does not see the clear distinction between the ministries and apostleships of Paul and Peter is actually unwilling to see the difference. The verses are in plain English, and no seminary degree is necessary. If one disagrees with any of these verses cited above, he or she is denying God’s Word and arguing with God Almighty. Be not foolish, friend. Religious tradition is not the authority; God’s Word rightly divided is the authority. Let the Bible correct your thinking; do not correct the Bible.

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37-38). If you do not see the simple Bible truths contained in this study, you do not want to see them, and you are being dishonest with the Bible and yourself. We conclude that one who ignores these truths is doing so in order to embrace vain church tradition and fallible denominational biases and interpretations.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Peter and Paul did not preach the same Gospel. They had different ministries, they preached to different audiences, and taught different doctrines (hence, right division is necessary). There is only one Gospel today, but there is more than one Gospel in the Bible.

Also see:
» Was Paul saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom? Did he preach that Gospel message?
» Who should have been Judas’ replacement—Matthias or Paul?
» When did the Church the Body of Christ begin? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

What about those who have not heard?

WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO HAVE NOT HEARD ABOUT JESUS CHRIST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Whenever the Christian teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, invariably, the question is posed, “What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?” While this question is usually asked in a captious (entrapping) manner in order to intimidate the Christian to retreat to silence, the Christian soldier needs to have handy verses that address that matter. So, what does the Bible say about those who “have not heard the name of Jesus?” Let us search the Scriptures and see!

In his 30-plus-year ministry, the Apostle Paul met many heathens, people who had never heard a single word about Jesus Christ, who literally knew nothing about the one true God, JEHOVAH, the God of the nation Israel. These Gentiles literally had no knowledge of the Bible whatsoever (even of the Old Testament Scriptures, which was the only “Bible” during the first half of Paul’s ministry).

Ephesians 4:17-19 says about these people: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

Ephesians 2:11-12 explains why the Gentiles were spiritually blind and ignorant: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Those Gentiles did not have the God of the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ, so they lived apart from His life, His values, and His plan!

That Gentile ignorance began to diminish with Paul’s ministry, as the Apostle himself describes in Acts 26 (referring back to events in Acts 9, about 30 years earlier): “[15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

In Acts 17, Paul is in Athens (verse 16). While standing on Mars’ Hill, he speaks to all Athenians, but especially to its Greek philosophers (verses 18ff.). These Greeks are very religious, as evidenced by their altars and devotions, but they do not know the God of the Bible, the Creator of heaven and earth: Paul notes their altar that reads, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD” (verse 23). Paul preached to teach in verses 29-31: “[29] Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. [30] And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: [31] Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” God had sent Paul to these ignorant Gentiles to stop them from thinking vain thoughts, to quit reducing the Creator to some manmade idol, and to realize that Jesus Christ had come to save them from such foolishness!

Years after his salvation and the beginning of his ministry, Paul wrote in Colossians 1:23-24: “ [23] If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; [24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” If we take verse 23—“the gospel… was preached to every creature which is under heaven”—very literally, every single person had heard the Gospel of the Grace of God in Paul’s day. Despite such limited and slow communication in that period of history, the Bible affirms that the whole then-known world had heard about Jesus Christ (this was through Paul’s ministry; Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; Ephesians 3:9).

Colossians 1:5-6 says, “[5] For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; [6] Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:” Surely, if the whole then-known world had heard of Jesus Christ, today’s “advanced” communication methods could certainly prove it to be true even now in the 21st century.

It should be pointed out that we do not know just how much those who (allegedly) “do not know” know. We do not know how much they know. The Christian should point this out and emphasize it when asked, “What about those who have not heard about Jesus Christ?”

Read Romans 1:18-20: “[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”

In the above passage, the Bible does say that, because of the existence of the natural creation, every single person knows that there is a Creator God, Someone who is powerful and Someone who is a righteous Judge. They know there is a God (they may not know His name, but they do know that He exists). They are “without excuse.”

Every person, no matter where he or she lives in the world, has a conscience, something “which may be known of God [that] is manifest in them” (Romans 1:19). Romans 2:13-16 explains: “[13] (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. [14] For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: [15] Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; ) [16] In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

God will eventually judge “the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to [Paul’s] gospel.” Every person who has lived in this the Dispensation of Grace, will be held accountable to God regarding what he or she did with the Gospel of the Grace of God. God could only be just in doing this if they all had a chance to hear it, and evidently, they all will have had a chance.

Throughout the world are God’s written Word, the Holy Bible, and His people, Christians, who teach and preach the Holy Bible. Through these two means, God makes Himself known to the world’s lost people. If any person in the world wants to know JEHOVAH, the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), he or she can know Him. God is not hiding from anyone. In fact, Paul, in the context of Acts 17, says “…all nations of men… that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:” (Acts 17:26,27).

As English-speaking people, we can come to know God through the King James Bible. First, we must be willing to listen to what He has to say in it!

Also see:
» What does 2 Corinthians 5:19 mean? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» I am basically a good person, but not a Christian. Will I still go to heaven? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Will everyone eventually make it to heaven? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

Why does Israel have 12 apostles?

WHY DID JESUS SELECT EXACTLY 12 APOSTLES FOR ISRAEL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Why did the Lord Jesus Christ choose twelve apostles during His earthly ministry? The Bible gives us the simple answer.

When God separated Abram (Abraham) from the human race in Genesis chapter 12, He purposed to create a nation for His name. Using Abraham’s bloodline, God would also send the King-Messiah-Redeemer (Jesus), the seed of the woman, that He promised in Genesis 3:15. As God swore, elderly Abraham and Sarah had their son Isaac (Genesis 17:1-22). Isaac fathered Jacob, and Jacob had twelve sons (Genesis 35:22-26). Jacob’s twelve sons head “the twelve tribes of Israel” (Genesis 49:1-28; Acts 7:8).

In Bible numerics, 12 is the number of the nation Israel. God used twelve men and their wives to give birth to the Jewish race. According to Matthew 19:27-28, when Jesus Christ came (First Advent), He chose 12 men to be His apostles, individuals that He sent out to evangelize the rest of Israel (Matthew 10:5-7). But, not only that… we gather from the Bible that Christ had actually chosen the twelve rulers of Israel, who would govern Israel when He would set up His kingdom!

Matthew 19:27-28 explains: “[27] Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? [28] And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Luke 22:29-30 elaborates even further: “[29] And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; [30] That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

The program operating during Christ’s earthly ministry was the prophetic program, which God had operated since the world began (Acts 3:21). Today, Israel’s program is currently interrupted by our mystery program, the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 16:25-26a). When this present dispensation is concluded (at the rapture), God will return to Israel’s program. After Jacob’s trouble (Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation), Jesus Christ, at His Second Coming, will return to establish His earthly kingdom. Then, He will fulfill Matthew 19:27-28. (Albeit, Matthias will assume Judas’ position; Acts 1:21-26.)

Why twelve apostles? Simply put, so Israel can one day have twelve princes, one prince for each tribe!

Also see:
» Why is the nation Israel in the Bible? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Who replaced Judas—Matthias or Paul?
» What is “Replacement Theology?”

Must I study the Bible in its original languages to understand it?

DO I NEED HEBREW, GREEK, OR LATIN IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We are constantly urged to study the Bible in its original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek form. Is this really necessary? What is wrong with reading the English Bible?

The argument goes something like this: “The original Bible had 11,280 Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words, but the average English translation only has 6,000 words. Shades of meaning can be overlooked, so we should appeal to the original languages just in case the translators missed something, or in order for us to get a fuller impact of the verses.” You might have heard someone say, “In the Greek (or Hebrew), the word is …. and its meaning is …. , so a better translation is ….” (This is an extremely convenient tool for those who prefer to justify their denominational bias as opposed to allowing God’s Word to expose their doctrinal errors. By appealing to the “original languages,” one can simply “correct” the parts of the Bible that disagrees with his or her particular theological persuasion, and the common man [who is ignorant of Greek and Hebrew] will never know otherwise and will never second-guess the “experts!”)

While there is nothing wrong with studying Hebrew and/or Greek, you must be mindful of the fact that not all Hebrew and Greek Bibles are the same. In fact, there are actually two general sets of manuscripts for the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and two general sets of manuscripts for the Greek Bible (New Testament)—there is also a Greek Bible of the Old Testament (called the Septuagint, or LXX). It should also be pointed out that, as some have mentioned in the past, you can do Hebrew and Greek word studies without a Bible even in the room! Thus, Greek and Hebrew studies are not necessarily Bible study, and under no circumstances whatsoever should they be used to undermine and/or change God’s Word.

In Bible days, educated religious leaders usually deceived the unsuspecting, trusting, common people. Remember what Jesus said of the Pharisees and scribes of His day: “[1] Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, [2] Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: [3] All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:1-3). The scribes and Pharisees were highly educated religious leaders in Israel. These “lawyers” and “doctors [of theology]” were Mosaic Law experts, and they demanded everyone obey it. However, Jesus repeatedly exposed these “experts” as hypocrites. Despite their godly outward appearance, they were not God’s servants. In fact, they persecuted and killed God’s servants, under the cloak of religion too (Luke 11:45-52).

Archeologists report that a stone seat is found in front of every synagogue: this is “Moses’ seat,” where the authoritative scribes would sit and teach the Law to the people (Matthew 23:1-3, quoted above). These scribes felt they were successors of Moses (a man of faith). They held a place of authority, but they were “blind guides” because they lacked godly wisdom (Matthew 23:16,24). Unlike Moses, these religious leaders were not experts when it came to faith in God’s Word. The Bible even tells us they manifested their unbelief by refusing John’s water baptism (Luke 7:29,30).

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were guilty of faithless religious activity. It appeared good, but it was spiritually wicked because it was hypocritical. But, behold the hypocritical “blind guides” of our day! Theologians and seminarians, “experts” in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin, are destitute of expertise in faith (believing what God said). They all claim to be Bible “scholars” (ha!), yet how many really believe what God’s Word says? FEW! They seek your proficiency in the “‘original’ Greek and Hebrew,” but they have no real interest in teaching you to believe God’s Word in English. Furthermore, they encourage you to join them as they faithlessly mimic Israel’s rites, rituals, and ceremonies (formalism).

Remember, according to Jesus Christ, despite an educated person’s charisma and eloquence, he or she is not necessary an expert when it comes to faith in God’s Word. Furthermore, just because it looks nice, does not necessarily mean God approves it.

“…And the common people heard [Jesus] gladly” (Mark 12:37). Whether in the Greek or English Bible, we read that God’s Word is for “the common people.” Once, after I read a seminarian’s “Bible” study article, I concluded that that was more of a Hebrew study. It left me, a Christian, with more questions than answers. (I can only wonder what confusion it brought to the poor lost souls who read it!)

Oftentimes, theology (mis)leads us to believe that we must go to school for 10 years to learn Koine Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and/or Aramaic, in order to fully grasp the Bible’s concepts. If God required that from us, hardly any of us could ever be saved, or even know God’s will in the first place!!

Contrariwise, God’s Word, the King James Bible, is for the common people. Its 54 faithful, Holy Spirit-filled men who translated it in 1611 knew the Bible languages. They purified and perfected the language of the existing English Bibles to provide us—the common people—with a Bible we could own and read personally (rather than it being chained to a church altar, or “shackled” in Rome’s Latin “bible”).

Mark 12:37 says how our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to the common people. He did not depend on the “educated” religious leaders to reach the common people (these “scholars” were too corrupt, and would have perverted His pure doctrine!). Observe what Christ told His Father: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Luke 10:21).

The key to understanding the Bible is not a college or seminary education. If you have an ear to hear, an eye to see, and you are willing to study God’s Word and learn, the Holy Spirit will illuminate your mind: “Which things we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13).

After all, the Bible is for the common people!

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). They were not entirely “unlearned and ignorant….” Christendom often requires one to have a degree to teach the Bible… or, ludicrously enough, even to sing in the church choir (!). Dear saints, memorize Acts 4:13, and let it, not traditional thinking, be your authority in that matter.

Again, studying the Bible’s original languages of Hebrew and Greek is not evil in and of itself. Regardless, our King James Bible says in English exactly what the divinely preserved Bible texts read in Hebrew and Greek. Also, it is critical to note that knowledge of Greek and Hebrew does not necessarily make one a sound Bible authority. Millions of heretics and apostates are Hebrew- and Greek-literate!

Music degrees are not evil either, but they do not necessarily equip us to worship God with musical instruments and singing. Millions of hell-bound Bible-haters have prestigious music awards and impressive discographies: their lyrics and lifestyles are certainly not bringing the God of the Bible any glory.

The second greatest blunder of the professing “church”—ranking just under its failure to study the Bible dispensationally—is its emphasis on education. Frankly, unless you have attended seminary for a decade, and save you have been “approved” by some denomination, you really are a nobody. While you certainly want a degreed surgeon, you might want to reconsider that principle when seeking a church leader! Why? Some of the most ridiculous, heretical, and blasphemous statements I have ever read and heard came from the pens and lips of preachers and teachers from seminary! Remember what Jesus Christ said, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Luke 10:21).

In Acts 4:13, Israel’s “educated” religious leaders were amazed when they observed the Apostles Peter and John. “Look at those silly fishermen who lack our education! How can such unlearned and ignorant men boldly preach such wisdom?!” HOW? “They had been with Jesus.” They had the Lord of glory as their personal teacher, as do we (1 Corinthians 2:11-16). Beloved, be not intimidated by the “sort of educated” (1 Corinthians 1:25-31). 🙂

Also see:
» What about the original Bible manuscripts? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Can a Bible translation be just as reliable as the Bible in its original languages? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Why should we trust the King James Bible? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

What is “Replacement Theology?”

WHAT IS “REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY?” IS GOD FINISHED WITH THE NATION ISRAEL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

According to adherents of “Replacement Theology” (also called “Covenant Theology” and “Supersessionism”), God is permanently finished with the nation Israel. He has given all of Israel’s covenants and promises to us and we are now “spiritual Israel:” that is, the Church the Body of Christ has replaced Israel. While it makes good church tradition, it is bad Bible doctrine!

Throughout the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and early Acts, we read about an imminent literal, physical, visible earthly kingdom. In that kingdom, there would be no sickness, no sin, and no death (Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 8:1; Acts 3:19-26; Hebrews 2:3-5; et cetera). Israel would be redeemed and protected from her enemies and Jesus Christ would reign over her in a Davidic kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 61:1-11; Zechariah 14:9-11; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:6; et cetera). The entire world, but especially Israel, would be free from Satanic captivity and oppression (Isaiah 49:24-26; Zechariah 13:1-2; et cetera). Israel would possess her Promised Land (Deuteronomy 30:1-5; Jeremiah 30:3; Ezekiel 37:21-23; et cetera) and her people, the Jews, would live in that land forever and ever with God Himself in their midst (Genesis 17:8; Joel 3:17,21; et cetera)! God would marry Israel, she would forsake all her idols and pagan religion, and God would make her His people after her captivity and dispersion amongst the Gentiles concluded (Hosea 2:19-23; et cetera). Israel would be resurrected spiritually and given new life (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 37:1-28; et cetera). Through the New Covenant, God would forgive Israel of all her sins and He would give her every spiritual and physical provision she would ever need (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Joel 3:18-21; Amos 9:11-15; Zephaniah 3:14-20; et cetera). Israel would be free from all Gentile oppression (Daniel 2:35,44): the Jews would be priests, and they would bring their JEHOVAH and His salvation to the Gentiles (Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 61:1; Zechariah 8:20-23; et cetera).

Yet, that earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ never came. We are 2,000 years removed from Jesus’ earthly ministry, and the above verses still have not been fulfilled (some of those promises are over 3,000 years old). Today, people still grow sick and die. There is still widespread evil in the world, Satan is still operating his program of evil in governments and religions, and Israel is dispersed worldwide and without a homeland. The Middle East has no rest from war and strife. What happened to that earthly kingdom promised throughout much of the Bible? Was God lying when He promised all these wonderful things to Israel? Will Israel ever enjoy her JEHOVAH in that heaven-on-earth kingdom? (Or, are these prophecies “spiritual”/“allegorical” promises that should not to be taken literally, as the adherents of Replacement Theology teach?)

While much more could be said about this topic, it is most conducive to learning to give three major and specific reasons why Replacement Theology / Covenant Theology / Supersessionism is not the conclusion of the Bible-believer:

 

1. JEREMIAH 31:35-37 DOES NOT PERMIT ISRAEL’S PERMANENT FALL

The Holy Ghost moved the Prophet Jeremiah to write regarding Israel’s future: “[35] Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: [36] If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. [37] Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:35-37).

Here, the Bible is very clear about Israel’s temporary dispersion and captivity—God Himself will restore Israel one day. According to the Bible, the only way God would ever completely do away with the nation Israel is if the ordinances of the heavens (such as the law of universal gravitation) departed. Before God could even cast off Israel forever, the entire universe would have to fall apart, and the Bible says that will never happen. Indeed, God would be most certainly justified in destroying Israel for her constant rebellion against Him, but He cannot break His Word to her (“It is impossible for God to lie;” Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). He is bound by His covenants to never forsake Israel. Yes, God is not dealing with Israel today, but the Holy Ghost through the Apostle Paul says Israel has a hope, for, despite her unfaithfulness, her God is faithful. Israel has a glorious hope that our human minds cannot even begin to fathom!

 

2. ROMANS 11:25-32 DOES NOT PERMIT ISRAEL’S PERMANENT FALL

According to the Apostle Paul, even on this side of Calvary’s cross (as opposed to when Jeremiah wrote), God is not through with the nation Israel. The Holy Ghost moved the Apostle Paul to write regarding Israel’s future:

“[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. [28] As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. [29] For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. [30] For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: [31] Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. [32] For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:25-32).

Yes, Paul acknowledges that Israel is currently “fallen,” “cast away” and “blind” spiritually (Romans 11:11,15,25), but after our Dispensation of Grace, he affirms that Israel will be “saved” (verse 26). Prophecy will be fulfilled with Israel, for God cannot revoke His Word to them: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29). While God is operating our mystery program, kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25), He must hold in abeyance Israel’s prophetic program spoken since the world began” (Acts 3:21). We have not been given Israel’s promises; they still belong to Israel. The key to remember is that that program in which Israel’s promises belong, is currently suspended, and the program in which we live today involves a whole new set of promises and doctrine.

The nation Israel, which God intended to use to evangelize the world, is currently set aside. Today, the Gentile (non-Jewish) world is hearing God’s Word through the ministry of the Apostle Paul (the Bible books of Romans through Philemon), apart from Israel (see Romans 11:11-13). Today, Israel’s prophetic program is temporarily suspended (note that it is not eternally suspended). Their kingdom is still postponed, for their Messiah has not yet returned at His Second Coming to bring in their kingdom. Paul, quoting Isaiah 59:20-21 in Romans 11:26-27, writes that God will one day take away Israel’s sins (as per the New Covenant). The Apostle Peter mentioned this restoration of Israel in 1 Peter 2:10.

Ephesians 2:11-12 talks about the when God made the distinction between the nation Israel (“Circumcision”) and the Gentiles (“Uncircumcision”): “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”

This is what the Bible calls “time past,” and would include the “Old Testament,” the Four Gospels, and the first nine chapters of Acts. But, verse 13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Dispensational Bible study enables us to “rightly divide” the “time past” and the “but now.” Before Paul and the Dispensation of Grace (the “but now,”), God dealt with mankind on the basis on Jew and Gentile. Now, God is not making a distinction between Jew and Gentile. God has changed the program: this is the dispensational change that occurred with the conversion of the Apostle Paul. Those who do not understand this end up embracing Replacement Theology (Covenant Theology / Supersessionism).

The three studies listed at the end of this study should also be consulted regarding this topic, because they go into greater detail about why Replacement Theology (Covenant Theology / Supersessionism) is not safe theology.

 

3. IF GOD DID NOT KEEP HIS PROMISES TO ISRAEL, THEN HOW CAN WE BE SURE HE WILL KEEP HIS WORD TO US?

A third reason to reject Covenant Theology (Replacement Theology / Supersessionism) is that if God did not keep His promises to Israel, then what are we doing trying to claim Israel’s promises? Who is to say God would not take them away from us, supposing He did give them to us (which He did not)? Who is to say that God will keep His promises to us in Paul’s epistles, if He did not keep His promises to Israel? We can see just how dangerous Replacement Theology (Covenant Theology / Supersessionism) is. Avoid it! It causing doubt in God’s Word, and that is obviously how Satan operates (Genesis 3:1).

 

Also see:
» Have I blasphemed against the Holy Ghost?
» Are we under the New Covenant? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» What is Romans 11:16-24 teaching? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)